What You Should Know About A New Study On Processed Meats And Dementia


Illustration for the article titled Do Processed Meats Cause Dementia?

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At this point, it can be easy to ignore the headlines from the latest studies that claim that a particular food is “bad” for you or has been canonized as a “superfood”. Most articles on research that demonize a certain type of food tend to follow a pattern: identify a particular condition that everyone is afraid of, observeexisting self-reported data sets (courtesy of a biobank or other long-term observational study), noting a possible link between the food in question and disease, and concluding by noting that correlation does not always equal causation, and encouraging the people to adopt healthier eating habits regardless.

Good, another one of those studies was published today, and addresses the classic question of whether to eat meat, especially those meats they are very processed – can increase our risk of dementia.

What this study found

The latest research on the connection between the hot dog and the brain comes to us from the University of Leeds. Nutritional Epidemiology Group in the UK, and was published today in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

Using data collected between 2006 and 2010 from nearly 500,000 people aged 40 to 69 who are part of the UK Biobank, the researchers looked at whether there was a potential link between meat consumption and the development of dementia.

While this is not a new research question, the authors believe theirs is the first large-scale study of participants over time to examine a link between specific types and amounts of meat consumedand the risk of developing the disease.

The researchers found that people who ate 25g of processed meat a day (the equivalent of about one slice of thick-cut bacon) had a 44% increased risk of developing dementia.

What to know about the findings

Of course, like the results of similar studies, these should be viewed with caution. First, the findings do not provide direct evidence that eating processed meat causes dementia, only that a particular pattern emerged in the data. it’s more, this wait is an observational study using self-reported data from a biobank, not a controlled experiment.

Of the nearly half a million participants, 2,896 cases of dementia were diagnosed during an average of eight years of observation, and more men were diagnosed than women. Based on other available data Through the biobank, the researchers also noted that people who developed dementia were generally older, less financially secure, less educated, more likely to smoke, less physically active, more likely to have a history of strokes and a family history of dementia, and more likely to be carriers. of a gene highly associated with dementia.

Meanwhile, the researchers also observed that people who ate more processed meat also tended to be men, less educated, smokers, overweight or obese, ate fewer vegetables and fruits, and had higher intakes of protein and fats (including saturated fats).

Food to go

For him the study’s principal investigator, Huifeng Zhang, PhD student at the University of Leeds College of Food Sciences and Nutrition:

More confirmation is needed, but the direction of the effect is related to current healthy eating guidelines that suggest that a lower intake of raw red meat could be beneficial to health.

In other words, in order to make a claim like “processed meats cause dementia,” additional and more specific research is required. And in the meantime, we should probably cut back on foods we already know about.w should we be enjoying In moderation.

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